Oak Investment Partners, Hillsven Capital and Crosslink Capital joined to pour $22 million into Bleacher Report, the online sports site. Fred Harman, a general partner with Oak, joins the company’s board of directors. The site has a number of partnerships with traditional media outlets as well.
Oak Investment Partners, Fred Harman Joins Board
By Bleacher Report
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011 – 10:54 am
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 24, 2011 – — Bleacher Report, one of the fastest-growing sites on the Internet and the Web’s largest independent sports media site, today announced the closing of their latest investment round totaling $22 Million lead by Oak Investment Partners, with investors including Crosslink Capital and Hillsven Capital contributing to the round. Fred Harman, General Partner at Oak will take a seat on the board of directors.
With nearly 20 million monthly unique users, Bleacher Report has seen tremendous growth this year, now occupying the number five slot in the digital sports category, according to comScore, ahead of the digital outlets of several major print and broadcast brands. The company has developed a next generation publishing model powered by an expanding base of passionate and knowledgeable contributors who deliver high quality content that readers crave at the team and topic level.
“It has been a long time since we have seen this type of growth in the sports content space with an independent multi-sports media company competing and surpassing some of the giants,” said Fred Harman, Managing Partner, Oak Investment Partners, an early backer and Board member of companies like The Huffington Post, Federated Media, and Demand Media. “We’re excited to help Bleacher Report continue its growth as a game changing brand in social media focused on the rapidly evolving sports landscape while also exploring the many opportunities to replicate its highly successful publishing model into other verticals where content consumption and creation is driven by passion and social engagement.”
“We have been incredibly focused on learning and responding to the changing content consumption behaviors as they continue to evolve in digital media,” said Brian Grey, CEO, Bleacher Report. “These learnings have allowed us to fine tune and focus our growth in the sports category and we truly believe that the Bleacher Report publishing model represents a unique force in digital media that we will continue to evolve in sports and explore expanding to other content verticals.”
Grey says funding will be used to scale Bleacher Report’s operations, including the build out of content development and revenue support teams, while also exploring opportunities to expand Bleacher Report’s model through content experiences like video and mobile where passionate contributors can be connected to avid content consumers.
“For more than a year Monster.com has benefitted from the Bleacher Report growth story, and the recent investment by Oak confirms what online marketers already know – Bleacher Report’s next gen open source platform is well suited to supporting our brand message and engaging users with great content,” said John Federico, Vice President, Global Media & Marketing Alliances, at Monster Worldwide. “We value our partnership with Bleacher Report and look forward to ongoing mutual success.”
Bleacher Report has reached all-time highs this month in time-on-site and page views, highlighting the engaging experience being delivered to sports fans everyday. Grey attributes engagement growth to the company’s commitment to provide the most comprehensive sports content experience that combines leading original content production with curation of sports content from around the web of every team and topic that fans care about. Efforts to deliver the Bleacher Report experience to users via Mobile, its industry leading newsletter program, and local distribution partnerships have all helped fuel the brand’s growth over the past year.
About Bleacher Report
Bleacher Report (B/R) is the Web’s leading publisher of original and entertaining sports content and is one of the fastest growing sports media Web sites in the US. Since launching in 2008, B/R’s Web site has grown to an audience of nearly 20 million monthly unique visitors. The company’s distinguished editorial team leads more than 1,000 Featured Columnists and 7,000 contributors, and directs Bleacher Report’s unique data-driven approach to creating and programming content – including an extensive curation effort which delivers the web’s most comprehensive sports content experience. The result is first-rate sports commentary that gives B/R’s audience the stories they want to read in real-time around the teams and topics they are most passionate. B/R’s editorial content is also syndicated to a number of national and regional publishing partners including USA Today, NBA.com, Los Angeles Times, Philly.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle and Seattle PI. In addition, more than 1.5 million users have subscribed to B/R’s sport-and-team-specific email newsletters, which provide a demand driven mix of content that engages a broad array of sports fans.